Why change isn’t so simple until it is!

Have you ever wondered why, when you go on holiday, it’s so easy to have a good time? You laugh, have fun, everything seems so easy and so simple. The answer to this question may also have occurred to you – it too is so simple – it’s because you are out of your normal environment. You are away from your normal life. You no longer have to conform to what is expected of you and what you expect of yourself.

When you think about it, your normal life is full of rules and patterns, most of which you invented to get by. ‘No!’ I hear you cry. ‘I didn’t choose to get up at 7.00am to commute to a job that I don’t really like in order to pay the bills.’ Didn’t you? That’s a serious question. A question to delve deeply into.

When you got that job, did you not want it? Did you not sweat to get it? Pour over the forms or your CV to make sure you’d filled it in to your best ability? Research for the interview? Dress to impress? If the answers are yes – then you chose that. That is a pattern you created. If the answers are no – then consider for a minute, you still took the job – you chose that. You could have chosen differently.

If we’re not living mindfully (and only a very few monk-like people can manage that 24/7) we live every day without even realising we’re making choices. We lose sight of the reasons we chose as we did – we need money to have a car and a place to live, so we have to get a job. The job provides us with the money to pay for the car we use twice a day to get to our job and back, and the place we live in only half our waking lives, and then go on holiday to get away from it all. Our choices become patterns that we live out on a daily basis, forgetting that we ever chose them in the first place.


When you go on holiday, you are free from the normal daily routines and home environment. You get to make new choices, and, usually, you chose to do things that uplift you or make you feel good. You go places that interest you. Meet new people, see different cultures perhaps. You try different food. You use your body in different ways. You start to de-stress and have fun. Maybe, you even have one of those ‘Shirley Valentine’ moments when you decide you don’t want to come back at the end of it. Should I just stay or should I go home? Then you make another choice. If you return, a holiday seems a distant memory within a matter of days. You have re-entered your old pattern and way of life.

That is why when you are trying to make a change for the better, like giving up smoking, stopping worrying, or going on a diet, it can seem so very difficult to sustain when you are immersed in the normal way of living you know so well. Your mind and body know the patterns without thinking, and the patterns are many and varied. For instance: pattern one – morning coffee equals having a smoke; pattern two – what to do with your hands if they are not holding a cigarette; pattern three – escaping from work pressures for a moment to have a ciggie; pattern four – catching up on the news with other smokers whom you would otherwise not see; and so on. Changing your diet has many patterns too: eating a meal requires a certain kind of mouth-feel or amount; you have the right pans and utensils to cook what you usually eat; or you can easily and quickly shop without a list. Patterns of ‘being’ and ‘doing’ are everywhere.

Making changes requires a lot of brainpower, we have to make new choices and decisions at every turn, and turn off the auto-pilot, which knows how to run our life so well, and be fully present. It requires you to direct your energy consciously and can be hard work. Until that moment when – hey presto! – smoking’s so last year, veggie home-cooking is a doddle, worrying is so over-rated, or whatever it was – the change has stuck and you feel good for a while. Now, it’s become a new pattern and the auto-pilot can take over again following the new course.

You don’t have to go away on holiday to have a good time and have fun, you can just change your mind and your habits instead. You deserve to feel uplifted every day. Even at work. It’s simple when you know how!

If you want to make a change for the better, learn something new, or feel good ‘just because’, contact catalyst@nicwalker.com or ring 07989 404112 to make an appointment to see how I can help.

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